Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life throws curves

I’m in the final lap of fine tuning my manuscript. I’m busting my tush to get it off by month end. I didn’t pick the timeframe on a whim. After a brief overview sweep I knew what areas required my attention. You see, on January 2 an editor requested my full manuscript (Yippee!) – with a few suggested changes. Nothing major but enough to require a chunk of time.

I believe setting a deadline keeps me focused. In the past I’ve whizzed down the ‘wrong turn’ road when revising manuscripts. Today I have my own system. It might feel clunky to another writer but it fits me. This wouldn’t be near as difficult if the rest of my life was in normal mode.

After Christmas we decided to take a once in a lifetime trip. With the manuscript request the road stretched upward. I can do this, I told myself. On January 5 our email provider notified us they would start charging us for their premium email. Scotch that! I refuse to pay for email service.

Meanwhile, I’m researching for our overseas trip, communicating with family there and revising my manuscript. Switching to a new email service was another hill to climb. I put on my roller blades and shoved off.

My husband and I decided on the new email service and we began the transition. After many hours of learning how it works and what it offers I made the switch. I still need to sync my new email with my Netbook. Otherwise, all is good. Our upcoming trip looms on the horizon and two books about the region, which I wanted to read, sit unread.

What I’ve learned this month is this. Multiple challenges stretch us to reach farther, to go forward not faster but smarter. I’ll soon give myself a little pat on the back as I approach the top of the hill. With the priority tasks close to complete I will soon get to coast a bit, sit down and read, at the least, one of those travel books.

I’m sure my troubles while revising a manuscript don’t reach the category of worst ever. What’s been your most difficult outside challenge while revising a manuscript for submission?

5 comments:

Vonnie Davis said...

How do I handle unscheduled things thrown at me when I'm already busy? My biggest chores is keeping myself together. Not to panic. I ask Calvin to help with things: shopping, vaccumming, and easy household chores. Mainly, I just keep plugging away.

I had an editor at TWRP ask for changes, too, before she offered a contract. Clueless me, I didn't know they did that. But I made the several changes she requested. One involved a completely new chapter to accomodate her suggestions. Much luck to you as you plod uphill. I'm sure you'll do great. I've got faith in you!

Sheila Tenold said...

You're got a wonderful guy in Calvin. What a helpmate.

Thanks, Vonnie. for the encouragement. And thanks for sharing your insight re TWRP! Your words made my day.

Nicola McKenna said...

Hi Sheila,

thank you so much for this post. I often feel challenged by life, and knowing I'm not alone helps enormously. Having said that, I get strangely excited by the 'curves' that life throws my way, and I particularly loved your words 'Multiple challenges stretch us to reach farther'. So true, and so so doable.
I'm so excited to hear about your upcoming trip and your contract too, and I do hope you're enjoying the writerly process of revising, dealing with an editor, the paperwork, and all the other joys of being a professional writer.

As for my most difficult outside challenge, it's a recent one. Just three weeks ago, I spent 5 full days revising my Wallflower submission in time for the New Year deadline, ignoring the cries from our eight-month-old downstairs (and his 'I'm still learning' dad!) It was hilarious and awful, but was a great exercise for Dad to travel further down the path of parenthood. Being a stay-at-home mum, I feel I've a sort of a headstart on that one ;-)

Onwards and upwards, ladies! Loving the blog!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Sheila, I never had major changes requested on a manuscript, just editing here and there for things to flow better. When the first round of editing is requested, I sit on my computer for 10 to 12 hours and work straight till I am done. But I've always been like that in every thing I do. If I have a task, I just concentrate on it and put everything aside. I always take my lapotop wherever I go, and I have done editing during a cruise, locked in the cabin or sitting at a corner table on the deck for hours.

Finish the edits before you go away and have fun on your vacation.

Josie said...

Sheila,
My most difficult conflict continues to be my teenage daughter! She's 17 now, so hopefully my journey will be ending soon. That, coupled with work and family responsibilities, keep my writing time very limited these days.